Grump on the Corner of the Couch

This past December, my wife and I adopted a dog. During our engagement, I firmly held the conviction that we needed to wait at least a year before adding another member (of any sort) to the family. It’s not that I don’t like dogs, I just did not want the responsibility right after we got married. If you are paying attention and did your math correctly, you will see that this plan did not quite work out for me.

A few months before December, my wife had begun following a certain humane organization called Austin Pets Alive. They will go to the kill shelters around town and round up as many of the animals due to be euthanized as they can. One particular day at the beginning of December, they took in too many animals for their space, which led them to writing a status on Facebook asking for foster parents to step up and temporarily adopt at least one animal for a period of time so they would not have to be given up for euthanasia. If I remember correctly, my wife’s text to me was something like this:

So Austin Pets Alive rescued too many animals and they need foster parents or else they will die. What do you think?

As you can see, my options were pretty limited. I could say yes and inevitably end up adopting the dog (who didn’t know that would happen?) or I could be a cold, heartless puppy killer…to be honest though, as funny as the story sounds in pinning it on my wife’s well played wording, in the end we mutually decided it was time and went ahead and adopted the dog. Her name is Savannah and she has a bit of a personality.

Yesterday afternoon, as I was sitting on my side of the couch doing some writing she hopped on the blankets that cover her corner and settled down. We recently purchased some blended leather couches and I am doing my best to keep her from tearing the fabric, which would result in her never getting allowance again. That’s normal, right? Anyway, we play around a lot throughout the day and I had finished a section of work so I leaned over to use her as a pillow, which she normally thinks is hilarious. But yesterday, she growled at me.

She growled at me.

The dog for whom I cut my one year of personal conviction in half in order to take her in off the streets, keep her from being euthanized, and give her food, water, and shelter growled at me as I laid down on my couch. Seriously? This is a new development. When she finds a comfortable spot, she becomes a bit entitled if you try and infringe upon her space. Of course, I have the physical ability to toss her off of the cushion, but that would not be the most loving move to make. Instead, I gave her a playful pat on the head, told her she was being a punk, and got back to work.

But then I started thinking, that must be how the Lord bears with us. He takes us from our spiritual depravity, something far worse than any physical euthanasia, brings us into His home, clothes us in His own robes, calls us sons and daughters, and promises us an inheritance in Heaven suitable for children of the King yet we continue to trade our affections for Him for His stuff. We exchange an abiding intimacy with the Creator in order to accumulate what He has created. We build our homes, our bank accounts, our careers, and the moment He leans into our space for any reason we react in the same manner as my dog – we protest. Why? Because this stuff is ours of course and no one tells us what to do with it.

The reality is that apart from the generosity of our Father, there is no home or bank account or career. They are gifts He has given to us. It seems to me that we would do well to humble ourselves to that reality. I don’t want to be the grump who acts out with entitlement about a  couch that is not even his. Praise the Lord for being patient enough to pat us on the head, remind us how much we have to learn, and go back to work making our hearts ready to listen.

In that day man will look to his Maker, and his eyes will look on the Holy One of Israel. He will not look to the altars, the work of his hands, and he will not look on what his own fingers have made, either the Ahserim or the altars of incense.
Isaiah 17:7-8


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